Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Notes from the Weekend

Early in the test. I'm so happy stabbing Don in the armpit! I had no idea how many hours were ahead...
1. I got my black belt!!!
2. It was amazing.
3. And horrible.
4. Bio Freeze is fantastic.
5. But don't overdo it or you'll shiver for like an hour.
6. Being short isn't so bad because it puts me on level with terrible things that don't like being hit.
7. The test took more than 4 hours.
8. The seminar that day was for 6 hours before that.
9. I had 5 ukes or attackers and they ranged from 5'10" and up. Mostly up.
10. The list of attacks had 60 items.
11. Once I just couldn't get off the ground but I finally did it.
12. Twice I almost puked.
14. My mom watched the whole thing and said she wants to fight like me.
15. No one has ever said that before.
16. The first half of the test was teaching theory and methodology.
17. Several people said that I made aikido sound interesting during my aikido presentation.
18. 10 people from 7 different schools sat on my testing panel.
19. I have wonderful friends in and out of the martial arts world.
20. The videos look like slow motion compared to how it felt.
21. I wrote a 4,000 word essay over Spring Break for this test.

I have so much more for later!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Random thoughts from kids are random

Did you know kids are weird? After a very fun day at school and with Lainey and shortly after being all bouncy and chattering about the day, Autumn put down her hamburger and suddenly turned to me with her eyes absolutely brimming with tears.

Like this but older.
She said, "I don't want to die in the middle of the night in a tornado."

I mean, wow. Talk about random. And detailed. But I feel her because I used to be absolutely terrified of tornadoes. I'm still way edgy during potentially icky weather but--you know, I think I have written about this before. I just looked and I totally did.

Anyway, poor sweet girl. I think she was tired. We had a nice, long talk that covered everything from cats in tornadoes to the fact that we do, in fact, die and I kind of feel bad about that but I've decided that gentle honesty is best considering that her brother did pass away and she knows my dad is gone, too. We talked about Jesus and Heaven and that I really hope that I get to be so old that I'm, like, 3 foot 6. And the entire conversation wasn't grim or as grown up as I just made it sound. At one time I was holding her and trying so hard not to laugh that I think she could feel my chest shaking. And we might have discussed weather and general weirdness like whether or not there would be stuffed animals in Heaven. Too, I reminded her that it was almost bed time and everything is more scary when it's almost bed time!

Sooo, that was my night. In general it's been a good couple of weeks. We had spring break and went to the beach. I have photos from that and a wedding shower to share! I've been kind of out of commission because we have our big seminar this weekend with Chuck and Don. On top of the prep for an event and getting the house ready for guests, my test is Saturday night. I'm starting to get kind of concerned. I felt pretty good about everything last week but the closer we get the more I am trying not to imagine choking on the mat and forgetting EVERYTHING EVER. Hopefully next time I post here, it'll be to announce that I now have a black belt!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In Memory of Xenia: A Guest Post by Christine

I usually introduce guest posts with a story about the writer but you know Christine. Two years ago I wrote about a funny episode when visiting her church, later that year she made me cry when she wrote a piece for Garrett's first birthday, and a year and a half ago she made me cry again when she gave her daughter my name. Mike and I had our first "date" at Christine and Jason's house back when there was only Patrick. Now they have nine. And last week this family that has been so much a part of my life for the last 16 years said goodbye to tiny, sweet Xenia, baby Davis the 9th. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. You know so well how much your post resonates with my heart.

“God is good.”

This is a comment I’m seeing a lot on my Facebook today, typed under words like “Congratulations!” and “She’s gorgeous!” all underneath a picture of a red faced squinty eyed beautiful brand-new baby girl.

No one wrote that under my birth announcement.

“Xenia Diane Mary Davis' tiny body was born at 2:11 am. She is beautiful. We are very sad and very thankful for her. She will be buried on our land with a short service early next week; you are welcome to attend if you would like. More details later. Thank you all so much for your love and prayers.”

I suppose it wouldn’t have been considered quite “correct” in the etiquette department. “Memory Eternal” and “I’m so sorry” and “((((Hugs))))” abounded. That’s good and I was and am thankful for those comments of love and support. But you know what?

God is good. Even when my baby is dead.

Another loved one, a family member, wrote “My heart is broken for you. I hope you find peace soon.”

I want to answer her, but am not sure how, in the quick note format Facebook uses and the long times between contact. I have peace. I had peace from the moment I saw my precious daughter’s skull and backbone on the ultrasound screen and the just as obvious lack of heartbeat. I’m sad. I’m so so sad. I miss her and I want her back in me, safe and alive and anticipated. But I have peace.

God is good. Even when the circumstances aren’t.

Weirdly, the peace came easier to me in my tragedy than it did in my friends’. When Sharaze’s Garrett died, I railed. When the adoptions fell through, when other friends of mine had miscarriages and infertility I questioned. I guess, in some horrible wonderful way, this is my answer, and I have peace.

God is good. Even when life isn’t.

He didn’t kill Garrett. He didn’t kill my Xenia. Not to make a point, not to bring people closer to him, not to answer my questions or punish my blindness. Tragedy is not created by Him, they are natural occurrences of a world full of sin. Peace and hope, those are engineered by God, and they make far less sense in this world than pain and death. What would we do without them?

I’m going to see Xenia again. Sharaze is going to see Garrett again. In this life I will never not hurt again. In the next, I will hold and kiss my daughter. What would I do without knowing that? That God is good.

Friday, March 7, 2014

When Field Trips Pass the Cemetery

Today I went to an IMAX movie with Autumn and almost cried. It was Flight of the Butterflies and they have a Day of the Dead scene in Mexico where legend says the monarchs are the souls of lost children, come home to visit.

It's a sweet thought. Ordinarily maybe it wouldn't have bothered me. But when I arrived to hang out with the kids before the movie, Autumn told me that her bus had passed Garrett's cemetery and she told her friends that her baby brother's grave is there. Her friends had questions, wanted to know what happened. I told them I was sick and baby Garrett was sick and that's pretty much it. I also let Autumn's teacher know what the kids were talking about and what I told them in response.

I'm wondering if I should email some of Autumn's friends' parents to give them a heads up in case their kids say something to them. I probably won't but it crossed my mind. One of the other chaperones asked me if it was true what her daughter told her. She was really nice about it although I know that because Mike and I are so open with Autumn about what happened, it means some other parents have potentially awkward conversations with their kids, especially when they have no idea what or who their child might be talking about.

I don't know. I'm kind of unaccountably blah about things right now but hopefully some soup and pretzels and a test practice before Spring Break will help. Autumn getting home from school and telling me about her amaaaazing bus ride will undoubtedly cheer me up. Not to mention, she's ridiculously cute in 3-d glasses. I love this picture:

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

News that no one wants

It's that message no one wants, you know? One of my oldest and closest friends lost her baby at 20 weeks. They will bury Xenia Marie on their land today. I can't be there but my heart is with my friends and their friends and families.

Two years ago, Christine wrote a post in honor of what would have been Garrett's first birthday. It is to my great sorrow that I link it here and say: thank you for being there for me. I hope I can be there for you. I can't come today, but we're going to do something fun together this summer. We'll celebrate life and Xenia and Garrett who are waiting for us together in Heaven.

Seriously, this was forever ago. Autumn didn't recognize me.

To friends who have told me that they don't know what to say when bad things happen, well, even after all this time and all this writing, I still don't know what to say. Because I am me, I still talk, email and text, of course...

"I don't have anything except that I am so, so, so sorry and it breaks my heart that this is something you have to experience."

"I'm sure you know this but do me a favor and let yourself be mad if it comes to that. Because, yes, you're blessed and you have a great family and friends and blah blah blah but this still royally sucks no matter what the circumstances."

"Sometimes I hear people talk about their "blessings" and it's always something good and amazing. I told this story to the kickboxing class where I have to do a devotion--that sometimes I want to say I have a dead kid and yet I am blessed, too!! All that to say, call me anytime you need to say something irreverent because I still say things that freak people out so nothing shocks me."

But when it comes down to it, even though I've been there, done that, when someone loses a child I go into a panic. What do I say? What do I do? How often should I call?

I guess I, like mostly everyone else, try not to be a jerk and if I make a mistake or say the wrong thing, hope that the intention shines through the awkwardness. Fortunately, Christine and I generally understand each other after so much time. We've been through a lot together. I don't want to have this in common but at least I can be that person who understands the need to laugh at inappropriate times and who knows that you can't cry all day, everyday because, well, there is still life and love out there no matter what well meaning people mean to imply when they see you smile.

Sigh. By the way, at the risk of sounding like I made a loss all about me, I asked Christine if I could write about how blindsided and lost I was when I heard what happened. You might hear from Christine herself one of these days so I don't want to tell her story for her. Until then, please keep her family and friends in your prayers.